Boy George Being Treated for Heroin Addiction
LONDON (AP) _ Boy George, the British rock singer noted for his extravagant costumes and makeup, is undergoing treatment for heroin addiction, the head of his record company said today.
Richard Branson, chairman and founder of Virgin Records, said Boy George sought help for his addiction and started a two-week course of treatment Monday at a medical center in England.
″He’s over the worst of it,″ Branson told The Associated Press of the 25- year-old singer. ″He’s doing very well.″
Branson refused to identify the clinic where Boy George, whose real name is George O’Dowd, was staying. But he confirmed that the treatment was being supervised by Dr. Meg Patterson, who has treated several rock stars for drug addiction, including Pete Townshend of The Who, now an anti-drugs campaigner.
The disclosure followed the arraignment Wednesday of four people - including Boy George’s brother, Kevin O’Dowd - on charges of conspiring to supply heroin to the singer.
Rock singer Marilyn, 23, a close friend of Boy George, was arraigned at the same time on a charge of possessing heroin. Marilyn’s real name is Peter Robinson.
The five were arrested Tuesday after narcotics officers raided Boy George’s home and five other locations in London. Scotland Yard said no drugs were found at Boy George’s home, but said police were trying to trace the singer so that they could interview him.
Scotland Yard said in a statement Wednesday: ″Since our appeal for George O’Dowd (Boy George) to come forward, police have been informed that Mr. O’Dowd is undergoing full-time medical treatment and, in this event, we feel it would not be appropriate to interview him until treatment has been completed.″
Branson said Boy George telephoned him Sunday night and said he wanted treatment for drug addiction.
Branson confirmed that the drug involved was heroin, and said the singer had been addicted for several months.
One of the singer’s brothers, David O’Dowd, said last week that Boy George had been seriously addicted to heroin for eight months.
Boy George denied in a television interview last week that he had a drug problem, but Branson said the singer simply hadn’t been able to break with his addiction then.
″What you have to realize is that when you have a drug problem, you don’t want to admit it - you’re embarrassed about it,″ Branson said.
″It can take some time for live up to the fact and accept that you have a problem,″ he said, ″and this was the case with Boy George.″
The millionaire Branson, who is also head of Virgin Atlantic Airways, said the singer was determined to overcome his addiction ″and regain his old personality.″
Press Association, the British domestic news agency, said Boy George was thought to be receiving treatment at St. Andrew’s Hospital, an exclusive private facility in the central England city of Northampton.
Boy George rose to stardom as the lead singer with the Culture Club band, whose best-selling record was the 1982 hit ″Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?″ His popularity has declined since then.